So, the poem itself kind of becomes the palace - this lost vision that ends up being a metaphor for the poem about Kubla Khan's palace that Coleridge forgot when he was interrupted. Both parts of the poem deal with the attempt to create: Kubla Khan has built a pleasure dome and Coleridge is trying to use language to recreate the perfection of his dream with words. And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! We're all caught up in this amazing river; there are all these words describing how great it was, but, then we realize that this poem is supposedly about Kubla Khan and not just about the natural world. This depicts the contrasting composition of Xanadu. The claim to produce poetry after dreaming of it became popular after Kubla Khan was published. The first, which contains three stanzas, describes Xanadu as if Coleridge is actually there, experiencing the place first hand. Just a quick reminder, he is Genghis Khan's kid.
Coleridge, whose early work was celebratory and conventional, began writing in a more natural style. The sons of the Emperors of Abyssinia, except for the heir, were held prisoner there, to prevent them from staging a coup against their father, until the Emperor's death. That is something more impalpable by far, into which entered who can tell what tracelesss, shadowy recollections. While hearing the noise of river falling into the silent sea, Kubla Khan hears the voice of his dead ancestors who predict and foretell the future war. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. She is also similar to the later subject of many of Coleridge's poems, Asra, based on Sara Hutchinson, whom Coleridge wanted but was not his wife and experienced opium induced dreams of being with her.
The Preface uses water imagery to explain what happens when visions are lost by quoting a passage from his poem The Picture. Coleridge, we would yet ask him whether this extraordinary fragment was not rather the effect of rapid and instant composition after he was awake, than of memory immediately recording that which he dreamt when asleep? They were seen as worshippers of the sun, but uncivilised and connected to either the Cain or Ham line of outcasts. With the water, huge stones are thrown out on either side of the chasm which covers the gap. It is the first level of imaginations. The sacred river, Alph winding its course through immeasurably deep caves ultimately to sink into a dark subterranean sea. Coleridge believed that the Tatars were violent, and that their culture was opposite to the civilised Chinese.
The first written record of the poem is in Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal, October 1798. That's what they're talking about. The work went through multiple editions, but the poem, as with his others published in 1816 and 1817, had poor sales as a result of hostile critics who went so far to attack Coleridge's integrity. Though the lines are interconnected, the rhyme scheme and line lengths are irregular. So much so that he's really angry that he can't finish it, that he can't remember what the rest of it was because he knows it was good. Traill writes: 'As to the wild dream-poem 'Kubla Khan,' it is hardly more than a psychological curiosity, and only that perhaps in respect of the completeness of its metrical form. It is stayed on gilt and lackered columns, on each of which is a dragon all gilt, the tail of which is attached to the column whilst the head supports the architrave, and the claws likewise are stretched out right and left to support the architrave.
In fact, Kubla Khan is the most perfect example of what might pleasure dome, its sacred river, its panting fountain, its caves of ice, its ecstatic figure with flashing eyes and floating hair, Kubla Khan is clearly a poem about poetic inspiration. Then the speaker gets excited about the river again and tells us about the canyon through which it flows. And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced: Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river. The image is further connected to the Biblical, post-Edenic stories in that a mythological story attributes the violent children of Ham becoming the Tatars, and that Tartarus, derived from the location, became a synonym for hell. The pleasure-house of Kubla Khan was a very romantic and beautiful palace. Alvares wrote: The custome is that all the male child of the Kings, except the Heires, as soone as they be brought up, they send them presendly to a very great Rock, which stands in the province of Amara, and there they pass all their life, and never come out from thence, except the King which reignith departeth their life without Heires. The poet remarked that after taking some opium for medication, to which he was known to be addicted.
The power of the imagination is an important component to this theme. It might be called a great magical strain in Coleridge's poetry; a combination of pleasure and sacredness which is the sign of true art. Farther, it has procession of images which are Vague. She is a figure of imaginary power within the poem who can inspire within the narrator his own ability to craft poetry. As a whole, the poem is connected to Coleridge's belief in a secondary Imagination that can lead a poet into a world of imagination, and the poem is both a description of that world and a description of how the poet enters the world.
The imagery of that fragment, certainly, whatever its origins in Coleridge's reading, sank to the depths of Coleridge's feeling, was saturated, transformed there. The dome was made of ice and was located in a sunny area. There is a definite change of tone between the third and fourth stanzas. Yet, though generally speaking intentions in poetry are nothing save as 'realized', we are unable to ignore the poem, despite Mr Eliot's strictures on its 'exaggerated repute'. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! The two parts may initially seem unconnected, but the ideas in both parts of the poem link these sections together by showing that even the ruler cannot have control over the forces of nature, and the writer over his imagination. He thought that a dome was an attempt to hide from the ideal and escape into a private creation, and Kubla Khan's dome is a flaw that keeps him from truly connecting to nature.
Justly is it thought that to be able to present such images as these to the mind, is to realise the world they speak of. Yet, the 'reconciliation' does not quite occur either. Huge rocks are bursting out of it with the sound of hail storm. When it's presented here, it's all kind of jumbled together on top of each other. Porlock did not disturb Coleridge, we might have gotten a better version of Kubla khan.
Coleridge explained in the Preface of the 1816 edition that he read from 's Pilgrimage and included a passage that directly influenced his thoughts: In Xanada did Cublai Can build a stately Pallace, encompassing sixteene miles of plaine ground with a wall, wherein are fertile Meddows, pleasant Springs, delightful Streames, and all sorts of beasts of chase and game, and in the midst thereof a sumptuous house of pleasure, which may be removed from place to place. So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. It's kind of like if you're out partying with friends, and one of your friends not you, of course gets really messed up and spends an hour talking about his crazy plan to build a Taco Bell on the moon. . Part of the war motif could be a metaphor for the poet in a competitive struggle with the reader to push his own vision and ideas upon his audience. New York: St Martin's Press, 1969.